ESP team members took a brief break to participate in the ESP Gift Exchange held December 23, 2015 at our headquarters in Spokane Valley, Washington.
Happy Holidays, from the President
As 2015 comes to an end, I would like to thank you for your continued trust and support. There is not a day that goes by when we are not trying to make your experience with FORZA3™ or your interaction with Support the best it can be. I had the opportunity to visit 27 of you this year and I enjoyed every minute. Next year will be another great year of travel, I look forward to seeing you. We are guided by our Vision, to reiterate, our vision at ESP is:
“To be the most trusted and admired Core Processor
in the industry”
2015 has proven to be a great year of accomplishments for ESP. We are guided by the “trusted” and “admired” in all we do. My in-person meetings and phone conversations have left me humbled and honored to have such a wonderful team here at ESP. We have solidified all 17 of our contract renewals at an average term of 6.3 years. That means we are consistent in supplying you with the quality service and solutions you have come to expect.
Truly, we do not measure how “trusted” and “admired” we are in the industry strictly by the number of credit unions using FORZA3™. A more accurate yardstick for evaluating our efforts in these two areas is by our renewals. A more common term for credit unions to renew their core processor is about five years. The better we do our job in providing credit union solutions, the more often credit unions renew their contracts and for longer periods of time. At ESP, our evaluation of our customer service practices is a constant and ever-evolving process. My conversations with clients and potential clients assures me that we are most definitely exceeding expectations.
We are also immediately reinvesting the dollars from these contract renewals into increased capacity to provide customer service. This includes adding more team members (5 in the past 6 months) and were also investing in software and hardware to keep us at the forefront in development.
I have been working hard to build a team and a client base that wants to work and grow together through commitment, hard work and understanding. I am confident we have reached that pinnacle. We are now going to be able to achieve even more than before.
When looking for potential new clients, I look for credit unions that are committed to this collaborative process. I don’t look to solely fill the bottom line and max out our conversion calendar. We provide service from a personal perspective and we are invested in ensuring that you, your staff and your members are growing and enjoying experience. While partnered with us, our clients have experienced an average of 33% growth in accounts, 98% growth in assets and 83% growth in loan portfolio. We are proud of these numbers and look forward to working with you to make them even better – let’s get to 100% on all of them!
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” — Maya Angelo
September of 2016 will bring us to our 20th year in business. Although it’s a big accomplishment for us, we still have a lot we want to do. We are young and committed to providing a superior product and outstanding customer service. We plan to be a big part of your credit union’s success for 20 more years. I am excited to celebrate this milestone with you in Spokane on September 19-22 at our Client Conference. Start planning now! Stay tuned for more information next year.
It is truly an exciting time at ESP, thanks to you.
Get ready. The End-Of-Year is Coming.
Tempus fugit, a phrase taught in nearly every Latin 101 class, means “time flies”. It has particular importance to the credit union industry – especially in the month of December. Being a financial institution, a credit union has specific obligations and liabilities, foremost among them the EOY (End-Of-Year) report.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. — Michael Althsuler
What makes EOY so significant is that it contains vital information that must be reported to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). This information, such as interest paid on a mortgage or interest accrued on a savings account, can be the difference between your members owing money or receiving a refund. This financial information is filed with the IRS with forms 1099-INT for interest income and form 1098 for mortgage interest.
Although time is flying, you are indeed the pilot. And we’d like for you to think of us as your co-pilot. We can take a lot of stress off of your EOY. We can prepare your financial data, process it, transmit it to the IRS and then print and mail paper copies of the forms to your members. The only thing that your credit union needs to do is transmit the data to us.
To make your data the most accurate it can be, please consider the following suggestions.
Read and Follow EOY Documentation
To make your EOY as painless as it can possibly be we’ve created a step-by-step document that guides you through EOY processes with FORZA3™. Download our 2015 Year-End Processing Manual and this could be your easiest EOY yet. This documentation will take you through the end-of-year statement process as well as what transpires after the statements have been sent. It includes your IRS sign off, member forms and files that need to be sent. It also gives clear examples of how to walk through the first quarter of the year without getting bogged down with tasks that can be completed quickly.
Verify Member Accounts
Make sure all member information on the account within the FORZA3™ Statistics area is accurate. This is the information that will be transferred to the IRS forms and files, and it’s very important that it is correct. This helps to ensure that the member will both receive the correct information for reporting and get their correct forms at tax time.
Balance your General Ledger
This does not need to be complete to close the EOY right up front, but making sure that things are in balance as much as possible before the final days of 2015 will help in finishing out this task. Using the various reports within FORZA3™ to help complete this can ease this process.
The holiday season always flies by, and with it comes the urgency to make the proper preparations for End-Of-Year. We’re always here to help make the yearly transition smooth and painless. Use these helpful tips or feel free to contact Client Services at 1.800.456.5750 for assistance. We’re here for you 24/7/365.
How many times have you called Technical Support and simply wanted to talk to a live person? Instead you found yourself being shuffled through layer after layer of automated menus? Press “1” for Company Directory, press “2” for Billing, press “3” to hear this entire menu again. Blah, blah, blah. It seems companies purposely bury access to their support personnel. Is this the way they manage access to support… by encouraging attrition?! This tortuous process is termed “IVR” (Interactive Voice Response) and is the stuff of nightmares.
Also, many companies try to push every interaction with their clients to the Internet. Undoubtedly while you yourself have been suffering through IVR you’ve been informed multiple times to head to their website where all of your problems will be magically solved. Little do they know that you’ve already spent your valuable time searching their site and that’s why you’re calling them. Sometimes the only solution to a problem is to talk to an actual living, breathing human being.
Hello, this is ESP.
At ESP an actual live person answers every single inbound call. Every. Single. One. You can call us anytime day or night, weekend or holiday and we’ll pick up the phone. Potential clients have even called us on our claim and phoned us up at 3 am… and we answered them.
Our Client Services Representatives (CSRs) are really great at what they do and have most issues resolved within 20 minutes. They can notify you of the resolution of your problem either via a phone call or email, whichever you prefer. You can also view open calls or requests within FORZA3™ Core Processing Software.
We’re in Good Company
Some very big companies have realized the value of having their customers speak with an actual human without the hassle of IVR. Nordstrom, Cabela’s, and Best Buy can really see the potential in talking with a customer as soon as possible.
ESP does not employ IVR. We value every customer and value every conversation. When you call us we will answer and we will get your problem solved.
Windows 10: Should I upgrade?
We ran into this article on the Credit Union Times website: Windows 10: Should Credit Unions Upgrade or Not? and it prompted us to give you with a definite answer. We suggest you read the entire article, it contains great information.
And the answer is…
Yes you can. You can update to Windows 10… but we do not suggest upgrading just yet. We actually have a few clients running Windows 10 right now.
We have not been able to test all FORZA3™ screens on the Windows 10 operating system as of yet. We will be accomplishing this in the near future. If you choose to go with Windows 10, please call us in the event that you have a screen issue.
We don’t suggest it.
It’s common knowledge that jumping head-first into a new operating system, in a business setting, is not a good move. New releases of operating systems are finicky and generally require a large amount of “fixes” before they are ready for the masses. The choice is yours, but we suggest waiting for at least a year before you consider upgrading to ANY new operating system.
It all comes down to drivers. All of your peripherals, such as printers, scanners, and signature pads have drivers loaded on them. These drivers are built to work with a specific operating system. Therefore, when upgrading your operating system you will need to upgrade all the drivers, for all devices. Before doing this, please check with Technical Services (800-456-5750) to confirm that we have tested your hardware and is properly functioning on Windows 10.